Golf in Kunming or Spring City as it is known, has taken off and is thriving, with high quality golf courses set in spectacular lake and mountain scenery being the norm, drawing visitors from other parts of China and around the world. There are plenty of golf courses in Kunming to choose from for a golf holiday and the ones to pick is really a function of time available and number of rounds you are looking to play.
Kunming is the capital city of the southern province of Yunnan in China. The region and particularly Kunming city are blessed with the ideal combination of geography and topography – situated just above the tropic of cancer, but at an altitude of 1900 meters making for ideal weather – pleasant summers and mild winters, conditions that augur extremely well for all year golfing.
Here’s a list and a brief description of the best golf courses in Kunming.
Spring City Golf & Lake Resort (Lake Course)
The Spring City Golf & Lake Resort (Lake Course) is a Robert Trent Jones Junior design that sits on top of the list of the best golf courses in Kunming, if not in China. The natural contours of the land itself lend a dramatic hand to the golf course design – with almost all holes playing with a view of the lake. Holes 1-9 play in a descending order to the lake, whereas you are making you way up the mountain from 10-18. The Spring City Lake course is a tough and tight one and requires reasonable skill as a golfer to shoot a good score, but that is not the only reason to get out on this beauty. It may well be the most stunningly beautiful golf course you will ever see. Nothing epitomizes the golf course better than the 172- yard, par 3, 8th hole, where you need to confirm with the caddy that the small piece of green that you see in the great depths is the one you are going to aim for. Frighteningly Beautiful.
Spring City Golf & Lake Resort (Mountain Course)
Jack Nicklaus did not have as much luck with the land he got for his design of the Mountain Course as Robert Trent Jones Jr. did with his for the Lake Course, so to that extent, some of the drama that is on the Lake Course may be absent on the Mountain course. The lack of drama also translates into a lesser challenge for golfers, especially off the tee. The greens, however, are a different thing altogether on the mountain course – they play sharp and the mountain almost always comes into play. A good caddie is a good friend indeed on this golf course. The two courses of the Spring City Golf & Lake Resort are the best golf courses in Kunming and it is highly recommended that golfers stay and play at the resort – that is the best value to be had, or golf alone at these courses is priced very high.
Kunming OCT Wind Valley Golf Club (Jack Nicklaus & Son Jack Nicklaus II)
After many years in controversy and readjustments in course boundary adjoining the Yangzong lake, the fabulous OCT Wind Valley Golf Club featuring 2×18 hole courses – one designed by Jack Nicklaus and the other by his son – Jack Nicklaus II are opened for play. Less than 30 minutes from Spring City Resort, the Kunming OCT Wind Valley Golf Club is an ideal addition to a golf holiday in Kunming that is centered around Spring City. The Jack Nicklaus course is set alongside the lake while the more dramatic Jack Nicklaus II course is set a little bit higher. Fabulous golf course condition and stunning views are all in order, making it feature amongst the best golf courses in Kunming.
Kunming Sunshine Golf Club
Kunming Sunshine Golf Club is yet another of the numerous Robert Trent Jones Junior designs in China and the second amongst the golf courses in Kunming that is definitely worth an outing especially if you prefer staying in the hustle and bustle of downtown Kunming as it is just around a half hour drive to get there. The challenging design features two very distinct nines if not holes. The layout of the Kunming Sunshine golf course, set in the gorgeous Yunnan landscape gives you plenty to think about, especially as you plan your tee shot. Each hole seems to be different from the other – you may be playing upward, downward, leftward, rightward or straight. Surely this is a shot-maker’s golf course, but the scenery doesn’t fall short in inspiring.
Kunming Yulongwan Golf Club
The design firm of Schmidt & Curley has enjoyed strong success in China with some landmark golf courses in their portfolio, most notably the ten golf courses of Mission Hills in Haikou. The Yulongwan Golf Club, which is just about a three quarter of an hour drive away from the Kunming city centre is yet another testimony to their imagination – although its blessed with a setting that is hard to beat – rugged mountainside, dense vegetation and a lake. The golf course features 5 par 3s and 5 par 5s, hence providing more scoring opportunities. Easily amongst the best courses in Kunming, especially if you like something close to the city center.
Golf in Kunming is out of the world, and it is a hard job trying to rank golf courses there. The natural settings have helped carved out some stunning spectacles which may be tough to find elsewhere. Most of the golf courses in Kunming would easily make it to the top 100 most beautiful golf courses in the world, such are the contours of land and should we say water. The weather conditions also do their bit in making golf in Kunming one of the most enjoyable experiences you can have in a golf holiday.